Thanks to all our dedicated #langchat Twitter participants who shared some great ideas and suggestions on what homework ideas motivate students to keep learning world languages. We had a lively discussion on Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST. Thanks especially to Don Doehla (@dr_dmd) for moderating our chat. You can read the entire archive here.
So, how can we best use homework to support students’ second language acquisition? Participants shared many great ideas. Our moderator summed it up by saying we should try to engage the kids by including lots of creative practice for the target language, rather than merely requiring them to memorize rote chunks of knowledge. Web 2.0 tools are great for this. Also, honor the students’ time by ensuring that the assignments are worthwhile, not repetitive, and not assignments that can be done hurriedly before class.
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How to Motivate Students to Do Their Homework
How do we motivate students to get engaged in their homework? One thing we can look at is whether or not the assignment is tied to youth culture (@dr_dmd). Kids will be motivated to complete assignments that appeal to their interests and environment. They’ll be more willing to do the “boring” stuff when they have the opportunity to do lots of creative stuff as well (@dr_dmd). A simple idea that many teachers suggested is to offer students a choice in their assignments. You’ll be surprised at how engaged students can be when they’re involved in the decision-making process.
Another idea that many teachers mentioned is to eliminate busy work. If you assign it, make sure it’s meaningful–respect your students’ time (@spanishplans). Students really do appreciate it when they realize that their teachers understand that they have lots to do after school (@msfrenchteach). They are more likely to do homework if they see that it is integral to class the next day, or part of a bigger project (@profeguerita).
A final motivation strategy is the use of immediate feedback. Several teachers mentioned that they have had success with this. For instance, students are often interested in doing homework if it is online and immediately graded (@cadamsf1). Try texting feedback to them for some of their homework assignments, kids really try and improve (@msfrenchteach).
Flipping the World Language Classroom
Several teachers explained “flipping” as doing the routine language practice that we usually assign as homework during class — with teacher guidance and feedback — and having students learning and applying the language outside of class, at home, through the Internet and Web 2.0 tools. When flipping the classroom, homework assignments should be more about extension than about reinforcement and more creative than rote grammar practice. The reinforcement of concepts and the practice that students need to do would be done in the classroom with the teacher (@dr_dmd).
Flipped classrooms are a new phenomenon, but several participants have already been experimenting with the concept. It’s great to assign more creative assignments for homework, but it’s also important to strike a balance because if class is always practice, then class can bore the students (@cadamsf1). Also, some applied-language assignments don’t work as well outside of class. One teacher who has explored giving blog assignments as homework, @msfrenchteach, found that students actually write better and create more original work during class. Other teachers said that doing this in class can decrease the use of computer-aided translations, and that because students are being monitored in class they remain on task (@dr_dmd).
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Homework Ideas to Apply Language Learning Outside of Class
Coming up with creative assignments to apply the language is a great way to engage students — but what ideas can we use? Participants shared many ideas on assignments that have been successful for them.
- Skype a friend or send a message to an e-pal in the target language. @dr_dmd
- Create wiki pages to catalog students’ projects and stories, as well as track their progress over time. @dr_dmd
- Create comic strips with pictures and speech bubbles — lots of Web 2.0 tools for this — and keep a copy on a wiki students have designed. @dr_dmd
- Listen to a podcast, watch a target language video or find a song in the second language. @dr_dmd
- Read up on a current event in the second language. @dr_dmd
- Complete a short “Web quest.” Example: Go to BDZone.com, pick a comic book cover and describe the physique of one or more characters. @msfrenchteach
- Learn mnemonic songs to help remember grammar concepts such as how to conjugate verbs. @mmebrady
- Watch podcasts or vodcasts at home that the teacher has made, and discuss in class. @cybraryman1
- Blog. Aside from reading, @SECottrell only really gives students blogging for homework.
- Listen, watch or read the news and then do a news show in class (http://tinyurl.com/48pyrsn). @cybraryman1
- A large number of creative language application assignments can be found on @SECottrell’s blog post on students chosing weekly independent tasks for homework at http://bit.ly/j3H45Y.
- A lot of teachers suggested using Google Voice for various homework assignments. For example, you can have students call your Google Voice and talk for a while on various topics (@msfrenchteach). Several people mentioned embedding a Voki or other application in your site or wiki for kids to use.
- Try having students participate in discussion threads and voice threads. You can create the topics yourself or ask students to make them. @cadamsf1
Engaging Reading Homework
Reading assignments don’t have to be a chore for students. Many of the tips provided above work great for them, such as letting students choose their assignment and picking stories that are appealing to their interests, levels and ages (@SECottrell). Several teachers recommended using current events and news stories to give students something they can react to.
- Assign books that they are already familiar with in English. @CalicoTeach
- Have students record themselves reading aloud. @CalicoTeach
- Use audiobooks and other sources that they can read and listen to. @cadamsf1
- Kids enjoy reading about other kids, so look for online youth magazines. In French, you can use GEO Ado and Planète Jeunes. @dr_dmd
- Continuing on the idea of giving students a choice, put a bunch of options on your class wiki and let kids choose a story appealing to them. They should then post it, read it and make comments on it on their own wiki. @dr_dmd
- Have students read each others’ work. @mmebrady
- Several participants mentioned Google News. Students can choose any news article that interests them in the target language, teach the class several words that they looked up and give a sentence summary of the article (@MmeCref). Students can also write some questions about the article and you can make the questions available to the other students in the class, or they can write a summary AND questions (@dr_dmd).
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Engaging Homework Assignment Resources
Check out @cybraryman1’s resources on his Web sites, useful for creating homework assignments that encourage students to apply the target language both at home and in the classroom:
Check out @mmebrady’s blog for ideas on using tech in the classroom at http://mmetechie.blogspot.com/.
There are a great number of tools and applications available on the Internet for educators. These can be used to make engaging homework assignments that are interesting and new for students — not your typical grammar worksheet or vocab memorization. Many of them are great for flipped classrooms where you want students to watch mini-lectures at home to further their learning. Check out:
- Empressr for voice recording — students can describe pictures that they take or find online. @mmebrady
- Glogster, Blog Polls, Bitstrips and Storybird have some good art to use. @mmebrady
- Memrise for vocabulary. @mmebrady
- Students like this exercise written by @spanishplans for vocabulary as well.
- Photostory from Microsoft lets you make a photo slideshow with sound, transitions and text. @dr_dmd
- You can make digital flashcards in Quizlet and then embed them on a wiki to view and practice. Doesn’t have to just be for vocab and verbs, but can work for any data that students need, such as cultural information, place names or famous paintings with their titles and artists included. @dr_dmd
- Let kids make videos using Xtranormal and show them in class for conversation-building exercises. @profeguerita
- Fotobabble and Blabberize are good for engagement, too. Check out an article comparing the two at http://goo.gl/9VLyB. @engaginged
- Yodio is great for projects because you can include pictures and voice. @cadamsf1
- Make WordChamp activities for homework and give the students a few days to do it. @spanishplans
- Use Screencast-O-Matic to do weather reports in class. @mmebrady
- Use Audacity to create podcasts or radio newscasts. @dr_dmd
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Participants shared some fantastic ideas and resources this week, and I’m sure you can take some inspiration from their thoughts and experiences. Thanks again to everyone who participated, and be sure to check back next week for more great ideas and best practices from your world language colleagues. Just one more #langchat before we break for July!
Don’t forget to keep connecting and collaborating through #langchat, #flteach and the LangChat wiki!
Thanks to all our dedicated #LangChat Twitter participants who shared some great ideas and suggestions on how world language instruction can complement other subjects in school. We had a lively discussion on Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST. Thanks especially to Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell (@SECottrell) and Don Doehla (@dr_dmd) for moderating our chat. You can read the entire archive here.
World languages are a natural complement to other courses, especially through cultural connections (@dr_dmd). Social studies, music, art — and even math, science and PE — have great opportunities for collaboration. Often, language classes can fill a gap not covered by other subjects. For example, history classes sometimes focus on European history and only briefly touch on Latin America (@dr_dmd).
What can we do to find ideas for to complement other subjects? Participants shared many ideas including a suggestions to look to the curricula from dual-language or immersion schools as they often do content-based instruction (@pamwesely). Many world language teachers cover material that complements other subjects well, but we don’t collaborate with other classes or teachers as much as we could (@madamebaker). When covering content from other subjects, then, we should look at ways to work closely with other teachers. For example, @profesorM’s school has core/encore faculty meetings throughout the year. Foreign language classes are encore, and in these meetings teachers brainstorm ways to connect the classrooms.
World Language Topics That Complement Other Courses
#LangChat participants shared ideas for collaboration with other teachers and for topics that mix well with other courses. Many of the topics covered in other courses have similar vocabulary to that taught in the language classroom. Collaborate with other teachers to try to cover these topics at the same time to maximize your students’ interest. Keep in mind that classes taught in other disciplines likely cover technical terms that your students won’t need to use in their second language, like “barometric pressure” from earth science. When teaching vocabulary, keep to broader thematic terms rather than specific terminology (@SraSpanglish).
English and Writing
- Poems are great interdisciplinary mediums. Many foreign language classrooms already cover poems as a cultural point, and a lot of English classes have students read a variety of literature in translation — why not also share the original (@madamebaker)? This is a great opportunity to discuss the differences in culture that cause a translation to vary.
- Students can write different styles of poem in the foreign language (haiku, acrostic, odes, etc.). @profesorM
- A couple teachers mentioned the possibility of a poetry month in both English and foreign language classrooms. You can coordinate with English teachers for Poem in Your Pocket Day (@lee_bruner).
- A great idea outside of poetry is to read foreign literature in both English and the native language. Discuss the differences in style between each version.
- Try working with your English teacher colleagues to integrate the same writing strategies in both English and a foreign language. @MmeNero
- Many teachers mentioned weather as a good interdisciplinary subject. Almost all low-level foreign language classes teach weather terms. One idea you can implement is to study weather phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña, then visit the NASA website in the foreign language for further research (@cadamsf1). Or try creating video weather reports in class in the target language (@dr_dmd).
- The metric system is another area with opportunities for collaboration; you can work with science and math colleagues to tie everything together. This also fits in with weather. There are tons of possibilities to teach metric. Check out the resources found here. @lee_bruner
- Another opportunity for students to convert GPS units into metric, as most GPS devices are available in multiple languages. This is good for teaching commands, too. @lee_bruner
- Try teaching the metric system of weights and making a marketplace in class. Students act out buying and selling authentic goods using different currencies and metric weights and measures. Videotape the students for later review. @dr_dmd
- Students can focus on thinking in the metric system, rather than doing the conversion every time. A helpful hint for temperature: 30 is hot, 20 is nice. 10 is cold, 0 is ice. @lee_bruner
- You can show the connections between chemistry and French — famous scientists, the periodic table of elements and the history of the metric system. These are connections to world history, math, the sciences, and famous people. @dr_dmd
Math and Architecture
- The ideas using the metric system and marketplace activities connect foreign language to science as well as math. For other, business-related ideas, try connecting your class with an entrepreneur in a target language country using the small loan charity website Kiva. This will turn your class into social investors! Kiva has tons of people to invest in from a multitude of countries, with authentic text and video. Have a math teacher first teach how interest rates work (principal + interest), then pick a profile on Kiva for discussion. For a sample article, check out http://bit.ly/ikWXje. @lee_bruner
- Architecture also connects well with foreign language, math and art. Have students draw the details of a cathedral or castle — La Tour Eiffel is fun! Students draw the monument, then read “Calligrammes” by Apollinaire. Then they can create new calligrammes of other buildings. @dr_dmd
Cooking, Health and Nutrition
- Many teachers said foreign language instruction goes hand in hand with cooking classes — and it’s fun, too! Try incorporating traditional recipes and even calculations of the exercise required to work off the calories. Recipes make wonderful authentic texts because they have culture already built in, and they’re hands-on! (@SraSpanglish) Cooking shows are also excellent authentic audio because the hosts usually explain everything they’re doing, and often write it on screen as well (@SECottrell)
- Or you can work with algebra and health teachers to collaborate on units on BMI, nutrition, calories, etc. @SraSpanglish
Physical Education (PE)
- Dancing is a great way to mix PE into the world language classroom. Try Québécois dancing as a great way to integrate French commands and culture (@MmeNero), or for Spanish classrooms use the Latin “Dancing with the Stars” dances (@SraSpanglish).
- Try doing a unit on games around the world with PE teachers, too (@SraSpanglish). Focus on your corner of the world in the foreign language classroom.
History and Social Studies
- Current event projects are great for integrating social studies and foreign language classes. @MmeNero
- There are also extensive of opportunities to mix history with the culture of your students’ second language. For example, the French Revolution is a subject every year for French 2 kids studying world history. Students can research key terms for both classes (@dr_dmd) and even go on field trips to watch related performances, like “Les Misérables” (@madamebaker). For Spanish classes, there are great connections with Al Andalus and world history classes, or try a unit to connect La Violencia with Botero and Juanes through Zachary Jones (@cadamsf1).
Drama and Music
- Like poetry, drama and music have a lot of applications in the foreign language classroom. A program called AIM encourages the use of drama in class (@sylviaduckworth).
- Another fun connection is to use your school’s music directors to incorporate one or two songs from another language into their concerts (@lee_bruner).
- Even the national anthem is a great complement to foreign language instruction — @MmeNero asks her kids to sing “O Canada” in French every Monday in class!
Like history and social studies, geography often complements foreign language curricula well. Some schools no longer have classes on geography, and so the world language classroom might be the best place to introduce students to the rest of the world. Participants had a variety of techniques they use to teach geography in the classroom
- Try using Google Maps for students to create “My Maps.” For example, place pushpins on Spanish- or French-speaking countries and write about the nationality. @lee_bruner
- Integrate with English as well with novels, and use Google Earth to explore and connect with geography. @SECottrell
- Combine current events with geography at the basic level. Students learn about what’s going on in the world as well as where it’s happening. They can learn about situations such as Yemen and Iraq, then talk about it with their parents! @cadamsf1
- Have your students from the AP class on human geography learn or even help to teach geography. @madamebaker
Many of the fantastic ideas included above can be adapted to work with several different subjects, both individually or all together. Other ideas are watching movies that focus on one subject in another language, such as watching the film “Home” in its original French in French class and in the translated English in science class (@madamebaker). You can also work with teachers from other disciplines to plan a fair or convention bridging multiple classes, such as a History Fair when teaching social studies or history in the foreign language classroom (@MmeNero). Check out some of the resources below for other great ideas.
We’ve shared some helpful ideas and resources from our #LangChat participants this week, and I’m sure you can take some inspiration from their thoughts and experiences. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by, and be sure to check back next week for more great ideas and best practices from your world language colleagues. Don’t forget to keep connecting and collaborating through #langchat, #flteach and the LangChat wiki!
Also, you can suggest topics for future #LangChats at http://bit.ly/mkS7bF, please be sure to let us know what you’re interested in discussing. Only two #LangChats remain before we break for the month of July, so don’t hesitate!
Thanks to all our dedicated #LangChat Twitter participants who shared some great ideas and suggestions on how we can work with other language teachers and schools on a local, national and global level. We had a lively discussion on Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST, and covered such topics as interacting with other classrooms, collaborating with colleagues around the world, and the role of professional teaching organizations and other personal learning networks (PLNs) in the world language teaching community.
Thanks especially to Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell (@SECottrell) and Erica Fischer (@CalicoTeach) for moderating our chat. You can read the entire archive here.
Exchanging and Interacting with Other Classrooms
Participants had a myriad of ideas for interacting with local, national and global classrooms using a variety of technologies. Skype and Twitter are popular mediums, and teachers shared their successes and problems using these two new technologies in the classroom. While teachers acknowledged it’s often difficult finding reliable contacts for this type of interaction, they generally agreed it’s worth the effort. Below are some of their ideas on how to find classrooms and other groups interested in language and culture exchange, as well as some activities to pursue once you have found a collaborator.
- Two of our collaborating classrooms I found through Twitter. I found the school we befriended in Honduras through our school’s accrediting agency. In addition to Skype, we opened our private blog to the schools, used Glogster and used our class Gmail account. @SECottrell
- Here’s a thought based on how we found the Honduran school: check Council of International Schools http://bit.ly/la4UTW. @SECottrell
- I had two class exchanges and met the other teachers through The Mixxer (http://www.language-exchanges.org/). My best collaboration was with a group of students from Spain. My students talked to them on Skype three times during class. The goal was to practice conversation skills, both English and Spanish. We recorded the conversations and the students corrected each other’s mistakes later. @mundaysa
- Here are my students Skyping with the Spanish kids: http://twitpic.com/59blng. @mundaysa
- It’s great you had individual portals for the students. We were Skyping my whole class with their whole class — a zoo! @SECottrell
- A problem several teachers mentioned with live Skype conversations was that students were often reluctant to communicate voluntarily. Skype chats improved for @lee_bruner after he started using some conversation guides specially developed by @coffeycolleen for facilitating and guiding dual immersion sessions.
- I’ve moderated “quiet conversations” in class via Twitter. @DonaKimberly
- I use visual Visible Tweets at the end of the month as our Twitter “journal.” It’s also effective to collate tweets from breakout groups. @lee_bruner
- I also love the eClickr app for interaction with all types of laptops, smart phones and iOS devices. @lee_bruner
- A couple teachers mentioned using Twitbird to make audio tweets — kids love using this app.
- I set up # strings for my classes and make monthly journals of all the tweets. We follow up with the best tweets to write stories. @dr_dmd
- Many teachers mentioned using #charlando, for Spanish Twitter chats, and #parlons, for French. Another option is being created by @spanish_chat. A problem some teachers noted included students not wishing to participate unless required. Twitter hashtags for students to tweet in the target language are still useful, however, and are worth taking a look at. This summer the hastags may be a little quiet as kids enjoy the outdoors and their time off, but look for them to make a comeback next fall.
Other exchange mediums
- Several teachers mentioned ePals, but evidently it’s hit or miss. Some teachers have found great collaborators through its services, though.
- A few years ago, I had a great collaboration with a school in Bordeaux. We had a blog together and kids updated it weekly. @madamebaker
A few teachers mentioned it’s also a good idea to seek out the local schools and community areas that can allow exchange in the target language.
- My first collaboration was at a local elementary school with bilingual kindergarten. My students shared their children’s stories. I found out about this opportunity through people who knew the community. Then, I made a few phone calls. @MrViscidi
- Cultural demos are a great way to connect students from different backgrounds. We took our ESL classes to several local schools. One of the most successful was a visit to a high school, where we spent time with a high school Japanese class. At one of the schools we visited, the American students showed our girls how to do the Cupid Shuffle (http://twitpic.com/59bjbp). What might seem like a non-educational activity can actually promote a lot of cross-cultural conversation. @MrViscidi
Teacher Resources for Collaboration
There are a TON of resources available for teachers who are interested in collaborating with their peers — whether it be on the local, national or global level. The problem, actually, might be that you can only stay connected with so many personal learning networks (@SECottrell). What do #LangChat participants use to get connected with other teachers and classrooms?
- Many teachers mentioned the FLTeach listserv. However, some teachers believe it can be difficult to navigate, post and read.
- I love interacting with Spanish teachers here: http://teachers.net/mentors/spanish/posts.html. @spanishplans
- A few years back, I set up a link through a local Peace Corps volunteer who went to Senegal. We joined her local high school with my class. Peace Corps now has a formal way to link classes. Go to their website, they have a program and curriculum to check out. @dr_dmd
- French teachers: check for your local Maison du Quebec — or at least the one in LA — tons of stuff! @dr_dmd
- Check out @cybraryman1’s collaboration page: http://tinyurl.com/3azq99t.
- Twitter is of course a great place to meet and collaborate with other language teachers. Apart from our own #LangChat, there are many organizations that have a presence on Twitter. The AATSP Twitter is @AATSPglobal (@SECottrell). A couple teachers mentioned using #edchat.
- Edmodo has a world language community. @dr_dmd
- Wikis are another great way to organize ongoing collaboration. For example, we set up one for the new #APFRENCHPROF collaboration. Check it out: http://t.co/EGfxvXC. @dr_dmd
- For professional development, I have had a great experience with the Language Teachers Collaborate (LTC) wiki. Over 130 active members in 6 months! Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/5w228yg. @DiegoOjeda66
- Skype has launched Skype in the Classroom: http://bit.ly/eNEkXw. @SECottrell
- Spanish teachers, check out: http://profesoresdespanol.ning.com/. @DiegoOjeda66
- I like to use the Yahoo group MoreTPRS and its daily emails. They have a file database, too. @profeguerita
- I invite you to join me on the world language community at Edutopia! We could do lots of collaborative work! @dr_dmd
- Our recent Prezi and handout from a conference presentation on global collaboration between classrooms: http://t.co/JiIFt6N. @engaginged
- For early Language Learning join Nanduti: http://bit.ly/irimMk. @CalicoTeach
- I just caught this resource this week here on #langchat, Connect All Schools: http://bit.ly/geoSM3.
- TES: http://bit.ly/goZRMS requires you to sign up to contribute, but it’s quick and easy. They have a resources sharing facility too. @taskmagic
- Mflresources: http://yhoo.it/7D8tlV is a yahoo email group, similar to FLTeach, but with the ability to attach files, AND posts are not moderated, so you can get a much more fluid discussion going than with FLTeach.. (There are moderators who can delete messages and remove people from the list if they misbehave, however.) Mflresources currently has about 4000 members. A word of caution re mflresources – there can be lots of messages, so you’re best off signing up to it with a web-based email, or even creating a new web-based mail account just for that forum. @taskmagic
Professional Teaching Organizations
Many participants discussed the benefits of joining professional teaching organizations at the local, national or global level. These organizations can offer workshops and conferences, as well as mini-grants for new ideas (@Catherineku1972). Most of @dr_dmd’s best student-to-student collaborations have come from his collaborations with friends and professional colleagues, many of whom he met through professional teaching organizations. Professional organizations are especially great if you can attend annual conferences (@CalicoTeach).
While some teachers said they got a lot of useful information and resources from professional organizations, others mentioned that they didn’t benefit much. Some lamented that professional organizations didn’t address their needs, or weren’t as accessible as they’d like. Most participants agreed that you get what you put into such organizations. One way to start getting involved is to offer what you’ve done by presenting at your state conference (@SECottrell).
So what organizations are #LangChat participants a part of?
- There are four to five of us here with ties to @KWLAonline (Kentucky World Language Association: http://www.kwla-online.org/) — best state teachers’ organization ever! @SECottrell
- Best after WAFLT (Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers: http://www.waflt.org/)! @DiegoOjeda66
- The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages: http://www.actfl.org/. @dr_dmd
- I recommend you consider joining your specific language’s professional organization, such as AATF for French (American Association of Teachers of French: www.frenchteachers.org/), AATG for German (American Association of Teachers of German: http://www.aatg.org/) and AATSP for Spanish and Portuguese (American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese: http://www.aatsp.org/). @dr_dmd
- In California, we have CLTA (Californian Language Teachers’ Association: http://www.clta.net/). It has excellent organization, an annual conference, local affiliates and a great network. @dr_dmd
- It isn’t specific to languages, but ASCD is outstanding! (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: http://www.ascd.org/) @dr_dmd
- I belong to NYSAFLT (New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers: http://www.nysaflt.org/) and LILT (Long Island Language Teachers: http://www.liltfl.org/). @profesorM
- Not a professional teaching association, but our school has an Improving Student Learning Committee. Most of my collaboration at school and in the district has evolved from there. @MmeNero
We’ve shared some helpful ideas and resources from our participants this week, I’m sure you can take some inspiration from their thoughts and experiences. Thanks again to everyone who participated, and be sure to check back next week for more great ideas and best practices from your world language colleagues. Don’t forget to keep connecting and collaborating through #langchat, #flteach and the LangChat wiki!
Thanks to all our dedicated #LangChat Twitter participants who shared some great ideas and suggestions on how best to take advantage of the summer months to prepare for the coming school year. Below you can find an overview of the excellent discussion we had Thursday night 8 EST, with all the main points that participants shared. You can read the entire archive here.
Many of our world language teacher participants say summer is a great opportunity to review what worked and did not work during the school year. It’s a good time to spend a couple of days looking at lesson plans and making notes while the material and ideas are still fresh (@mme_henderson). Summer is also a good chance to get organized. Several teachers mentioned they would use this time to build up their online accounts on class wikis and sites like Delicious and Edmodo. Almost everyone plans to catch up on their reading. This includes books (check out the resources section later for some great suggestions!) as well as colleagues’ blogs.
Summer Time Management
Summer’s long days and cool nights are for relaxing, right? Well, yes and no. It’s easy to get caught up in your “time off,” but it’s also a good idea to use this time to develop yourself professionally. After all, who has time once the school year starts back up?
The big challenge is how to manage your time during the summer. It’s important to get to the end and be able to look back and say, “I got something done, and I don’t regret it” (@SECottrell). What’s the best way? Perhaps it’s as simple as pacing yourself and not waiting until the end of summer (@msfrenchteach). Maybe you should pick three areas you want to improve and focus on only those areas (@mme_henderson). Or what about writing down your goals for next year and coming up with a plan on how to accomplish them (@suarez712002)?
Whatever your strategy, most teachers agree that summer is a great opportunity to develop yourself–so don’t waste it! Below are some of the ways our participants spend their long summer days.
Ideas for Summer Projects
Participants had tons of summer projects they intend to work on. Many teachers plan to improve their skills with various technologies, and come up with creative ways to use tools such as Skype, wikis and iPads in the classroom. Quite a few others want to find authentic resources, projects and assessments for each unit in next year’s curriculums. Several will present workshops and training classes to colleagues.
- I want to find creative ways to learn grammar without studying it. @DiegoOjeda66
- Here’s a tip: think about functions of the language and how you can embed the grammar into it. @suarez712002
- I am committed this summer to turn a scope and sequence/vocab list into thematic units with real assessments. Also, I haven’t taken my students anywhere in the community, and I want to change that this next year. @SECottrell
- This summer my students and I are hosting our first Empanada Festival. @DiegoOjeda66
- I participate in free technology workshops and have been going to the annual French teacher convention in July. @msfrenchteach
- I’d also like to take the DELF exam for myself. I’d like to work for the C2 certificate! @mme_henderson
- Preparing. We are starting the new term with a meeting with parents about what to expect in the world language classroom, so that students and parents both have realistic expectations. @cadamsf1
- Finally, many participants mentioned they intend to stay connected via Twitter throughout the summer.
Practicing Your Second Language
Practicing the second language was a major focus of quite a few world language teachers, unsurprisingly. How do you do this?
- I use my ‘authentic’ list (http://bit.ly/iqGkhA) to get tweets in my target language–that’ll keep you up on the slang! I also have a friend who has a free medical clinic nearby, and I hope to help him with interpreting. @SECottrell
- Hang out with native speakers. @suarez712002
- I’m going to look at my Facebook posts from my French friends to see what language is really used in daily life. @mme_henderson
- I like to participate in local Alliance française summer events, such as the party for La fête de la musique. You’ll speak lots of target language! @msfrenchteach
- Lots of reading, podcasts and calling my cousin on Skype. @dr_dmd
Summer Professional Development Links and Resources
- This summer, visit the LangChat wiki. You won’t find this many resources anywhere else: http://bit.ly/lgXGbk. @DiegoOjeda66
- Also this summer, check out SE Cottrell’s blog: http://musicuentos.blogspot.com/
- I’m looking to learn a new program Animation-ish in order to create some animated stories for level one classes; I want to learn some new applications to support my digital storytelling projects. @dr_dmd
- Toodledo.com (and related iPod/iPad apps) are helping me a lot. I need a to-do list with deadlines in order to get anything done. @SECottrell
- The Blaine Ray TPRS workshops are offered in the summer. @SECottrell
- You can explore my Delicious Web 2.0 + tools tag http://bit.ly/lx0wQc (don’t be overwhelmed–been collecting a lot of them). @SECottrell
- My state’s language association offers a summer workshop every year: http://www.waflt.org/. Can’t come to WI? Check out our Summer Institute wiki: http://wafltsummerinstitute.pbworks.com/w/page/7841553/FrontPage. @DiegoOjeda66
- This summer I’ll be revamping the Language Teachers Collaborate wiki: http://bit.ly/eTrVPd. @DiegoOjeda66
- Lots of people mentioned they’ll be working on Edmodo.com this summer to prepare their classroom materials.
- Check out @cybraryman1’s Edmodo page: http://tinyurl.com/4jcrzaz, and his Glog page: http://tinyurl.com/2cd9vhc.
- I am using the summer to check out resources that I found through #edtech. @ctrlaltdeliver
- In the past, I assigned language standards to students and had them make glogs with evidence that we met them. Check out the wiki: http://bit.ly/ivVAoz. The most meaningful part for me was asking the kids, “How should we meet that one next year?”
- In order to do something different I will participate in the Next Generation Academy to integrate world language and art. @suarez712002
- Several teachers mentioned making “I can” statements for each unit of the next year in order to help you and the students to have a goal in mind. A few suggested using Linguafolio’s “can do” statements.
- @profesorM invites you to update his Google Docs page for project-based learning by topic: http://t.co/bAp2W2s.
Books for Summer Professional Development
- I heard “Teach Like A Champion” is very good. For professional reads, I’m going to read lots on 21st century skills and digital learners coupled with project-based learning titles. @dr_dmd
- I am finishing “Brain Rules”, and hope to read “Schools our Kids Deserve” and “Homework Myth” by @alfiekohn. Also, posted this a while back: twelve books educators should read http://bit.ly/en5ZOI. @SECottrell
- I will read: “Drive”; “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect”; and I am finishing “The 7 Habits of Effective People.” @suarez712002
- I’ll be reading “Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers” by Debbie Silver–great speaker, so I think it will be a great book. @klafrench
- I also like to read author Chick Moorman, he provides great insight on how to work with children and teenagers. Read Chick’s ideas: http://www.chickmoorman.com/PTsystem.html. @DiegoOjeda66
Wow, great ideas! I am sure you can take some wonderful inspiration from our participants’ summer plans for professional development. However, while it is important to take advantage of your coming “free” time, it is also important to rest, relax and spend some time doing things you love with the people you love. Everyone needs to take some time OFF the grid for a while–we need to live in the MOMENT also (@mme_henderson). Your #LangChat moderators plan to follow that advice and take the month of July off from our weekly chats.
Thanks again to all our participants, and be sure to check back next week for more great ideas and best practices from your world language colleagues. Be sure to enjoy the professional development of #LangChat throughout June and again in August.